The Times of Infertility!!!

V.S. Venkatesh, CEO, Morgenall Healthcare Headquartered in Bangalore, Morgenall Healthcare is an integrated healthcare service provider addressing diverse healthcare needs of patients through Morgenall Fertility and Birthing Centre, Morgenall Pharmacy, Morgenall Health Clinics, Morgenall Daycare, Morgenall Diagnostics, and Morgenall Special Hearing Clinics.

“Having children was my saviour”, said, Elle Macpherson. A lot is easier said than done, the changing times, fast paced lives, the rush of living lives dawn to dusk each day, every day has taken a toll on the family dynamics. Gone are the days of families with 7-8 siblings. It’s the time of new age concepts, DINK – Double Income No Kids! But, sooner or later, everyone wants to reach-out to have their own world in this infinite universe. Those on whom time is kind have it easy, but that’s only half the story As per WHO, 50-80 million couples are affected by infertility worldwide. In India, 22-23 million married couples are affected by infertility (Ernst and Young, 2015).

The causes of Infertility are multifold, starting from Physiological/biological to lifestyle oriented. As per the NHFS data, couples living in urban areas are 23 percent more likely to be affected by Infertility vis-a-vis families living in rural areas of our country. Living in the cities comes at its own costs, those of survival and existential. Most of the new age couples have both earning members, and this leads to a more hectic lifestyle. There is the urgency of finishing deadlines, travels, meetings, traffic, irritability and in many occasions, coming back home with work. Although seemingly over whelming, this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Maternity is an experience, not just for the matriarch, but the father too. It’s a growth of two singular individuals into a defined unit of parenthood. And like all things holistic, this too is best achieved when the mind and body are both relaxed and in tune with each other and their surroundings.

We live in times that are grateful to scientific miracles. For couples unable to conceive naturally, IVF is the answer. In simpler terms, IVF is nothing but, extracting eggs from a woman’s ovary and fertilizing them outside her body with the husband’s sperm in a controlled environment and then re-implanting the embryos in her womb. In couples who conceive naturally, this same procedure
happens inside the female body. It may be said that IVF is an assisted technique of conception.

As the maternal age increases, the ovarian reserve declines. Ovarian reserve is the term given to the pool of eggs present in the ovaries at any given time. A physiological decline in the number of eggs is referred to as low Ovarian Reserve. A simple FSH (Follicular stimulating hormone) test done on the 2nd or 3rd day of a woman’s menstrual cycle can determine the same. As a lady’s age increases, there is a decline in the quantity of eggs produced in the body. A gradual decline is observed after the age of 35 in females. Late marriages, owing to career choices, personal preferences and wanting to settle financially before commencing on having children have led to an increase in Infertility in working women.

" Maternity is an experience, not just for the matriarch, but the father too. It’s a growth of two singular individuals into a defined unit of parenthood"

In advertently, stress from work–home balance, poor dietary habits, obesity, malnourishment, lifestyle habits like smoking and consuming alcohol add to the probability of PCOD (Polycystic ovarian disorder), which has been a known cause of infertility. According to Dr. David Robertson, there is an increase in infertility in couples who opt for late marriages, as the body clock works at a different pace. He has also stressed on the fact that conditions like PCOD are more prevalent in the South Asian sub-continent countries like India, and Middle East countries like Dubai, when compared with American and European nations. According, to a recent study done by Dr.Banker, Indian women are at a disadvantage, as their ovaries age six years prior to those of Caucasians.

There are other underlying causes like endometriosis (inner lining of uterus grows outside the uterus) and follicular tuberculosis which do not present with any defined symptoms. Thus, it’s always good advice to undergo regular check-ups for families wanting to conceive.

Though women are associated with infertility nearly, 40 percent of the men may also bear the cause. From low sperm count to poor motility, men may also be attributed for the cause of infertility. Deficiency in semen or abnormal testicular temperatures due to varicocele (swelling in veins that drain testicles) may also be contributing factors.

Whether, the cause of infertility is stemming from a man or a woman, solutions and help is around. Also, for all such families, IVF isn’t the only solution. A lot of the conditions can be reversed with the help of drugs and medicines, lifestyle changes, destressing, and weight management. There have been many advances in the field of IVF too. Although the basic technique though remains the same, better medicines are now available to stimulate the ovaries, which results in better embryos. Advances on the technical front have also made it easier for families to now have children.

IVF isn’t all science and medicine. A very strong predilection has been shown in emotional connectivity between mothers and fathers who conceive their child through IVF vis-a-vis natural conception and /or adoption. The journey a man and woman undertake to become a family from being a couple is emotionally charged and gruelling. The birth of a baby also gives birth to a mother and father. From understanding the challenges of IVF till conception and eventual birth of a baby, it is a daunting journey. It is also a factor in bringing families closer than ever, since no science can compensate for emotional support and encouragement from loved ones.

Eda L JeShan said, “A new baby is like the beginning of all things - wonder, hope, a dream of possibilities”. In the times of infertility, don’t let impossibilities of work, stress and time hold you back. Embrace the possibilities of science and hear the giggle of your own miracle.